Little Big Man

I went to the record store during my break and found the John Fogerty album with “Rockin’ All Over the World” and “Almost Saturday Night” on CD.  After I finished my lecture, it was too late to go to my hangout and buy a burrito, so I just went on home and watched the Blu-ray of “Little Big Man.”  That made it two Arthur Penn movies in the past week, and I passed on “Penn and Teller Get Killed.”  I noticed that the beginning of the movie had flaws in the print, but generally it looked very good in high definition.  I thought that some of Dustin Hoffman’s facial expressions looked clearer in high definition.  Faye Dunaway returned from “Bonnie and Clyde” to play a young woman who tried to bring Christ into Jack’s life.  I could tell where her character was going.  As in Penn’s previous movies, the main character drifts along in life and gets into some trouble.  Martin Balsam was in the cast, and I liked watching him, although I didn’t quite believe that he was missing a hand.  Richard Mulligan was an interesting General Custer who was living in his own head.  Hoffman’s character was supposed to be 121 years old, so it’s hard to accept all his stories as true.  It seems that he should have been killed several times during the course of events.  I thought the story had some similarities to “Jeremiah Johnson,” which would be released a few years later.  Hoffman was going through a pretty exciting period in his career, with “The Graduate” and “Midnight Cowboy” behind him, and “Lenny” ahead of him.  It was an unusual Western with comedy, coming between “Cat Ballou” and “Blazing Saddles.”  The emphasis on the Native Americans was something we might not have expected if we grew up on Westerns from John Ford or Howard Hawks.  I wonder what the audience reaction was to the scene with the sisters in the teepee outside of the humor.  Well, the racial issues in the film were not about black and white, and I was glad to see something different.  You could have viewed the movie as a comment on the Vietnam War.  Chief Dan George actually got an Oscar nomination.  I can’t imagine either Marlon Brando or Richard Boone getting that kind of acclaim if they had been in the role.  Having all the characters speak in English is rather distracting and feels unreal, even if it’s all I the head of this old men.  The makeup on Hoffman wasn’t convincing, and I thought it was something out of Star Trek.  The images of the West weren’t as great as Monument Valley, but I thought the last shot of the flashback was quite beautiful and sad.  I felt like this movie led to “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.”   I thought that the coincidence involving the Dunaway character was close to unbelievable, but I was glad to see her in that last scene, anyway.  This is still a great movie all these years later.  Some of the people who died on October 28 include Morey Amsterdam (1996), Margaret Booth (2002), Porter Wagoner (2007), and James MacArthur (2010).  Today is a birthday for Bill Gates (61) and Caitlyn Jenner (67).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for October 28, “How Green Was My Valley” premiered in New York in 1941.  In 1967, “The Supremes’ Greatest Hits” reached Number One on the album chart.  In 1971, John Lennon and Yoko One recorded “Happy Xmas.”

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